Pamplona festival ends with three gorings

PAMPLONA, Spain (AP) — A bull broke from the pack and gored three runners yesterday during the final bull run of this year’s San Fermin festival, health officials from the northern Spanish city of Pamplona said.

That took the number of gorings to eight for the eight bull runs that provide a high-adrenaline morning rush to the non-stop party that draws around one million people each year.

While five of the bulls stayed in a group and charged through the twisting streets with their guiding steers, one bull drifted back and provoked havoc in the crowds of runners.

The bull flipped one man over its horns and slammed him onto the cobblestone street. It then clipped another two runners that were trapped against a wall.

Regional hospital spokesman Tomás Belzunegui said the man who had been tossed by the milk chocolate-coloured bull named Rabanero was gored in the leg, while another man was gored in the right arm and a third in the armpit. He said all three were hospitalised.

The Red Cross reported several other injuries from knocks received from the bulls and steers, or from runners tumbling out of the way. The previous seven bull runs had produced five goring: three Spaniards and two Americans.

The six bulls from the Miura breeder, who celebrated the farm’s record-extending 53rd showing at the festival, completed the 850-metre run to the bull ring in two minutes, 42 seconds.

The San Fermin fiesta was made famous internationally by Ernest Hemingway in his 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises.

Most revellers stay up all night or rise early enough to gape from balconies or barricades as hundreds of runners dressed in the traditional white outfit with a red sash make their mad dash.

Animal rights protesters have also become a fixture at the festival in recent years.

On the eve of the festival, dozens of semi-naked activists staged a performance simulating speared bulls lying dead on Pamplona’s streets to draw attention to what they see as animal cruelty for the sake of entertainment.

Bullfights are protected under the Spanish Constitution as part of the country’s cultural heritage.

Participants run next to Palmosilla fighting bulls on the seventh bull run of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona. – AFP